Another dead whale washed ashore Monday morning, and while the cause of death is not yet known, it's part of an ongoing trend this migration season.
A total of eight gray whale carcasses have washed ashore locally in recent months, and the Marine Mammal Center has determined that ship strikes were responsible for the deaths of three of the whales. Malnutrition has been cited as another cause, with scientists pointing to the prospect that climate change has caused the whales' food sources, like anchovies, to move more quickly north, to colder waters.
As NBC Bay Area reports via the Marine Mammal Center, the latest whale was observed Monday morning, and the MMC plans to perform a necropsy on the animal by tomorrow.
"We are committed to performing these investigations w/our partners to find long-term solutions to help prevent these incidents in the future," the MMC writes in a tweet. "The length, age & sex of the gray whale is currently unknown."
1/2: The Marine Mammal Center confirms a dead gray whale washed ashore early this morning at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Our scientists & partners plan to perform a necropsy, or animal autopsy, tomorrow in an attempt to determine the cause of death. 📸 Credit Sarah Maria Curran pic.twitter.com/6sDhSnhz8H— The Marine Mammal Center (@TMMC) May 6, 2019
The appearance of dead whales around the Bay is nothing new, and back in March the Marina Mammal Center said that the number of gray whales overall this season making pilgrimages to the Bay was abnormally high.
Two female gray whales washed ashore in mid-March, one of which died of malnutrition.
Photo: Sarah Maria Curran